Gollar’s family wanted to give Sasson a sugarloaf, the traditional sign in Iran of agreeing to his engagement with their daughter. But it did not go smoothly: At that time, Sasson was living with his sister Hawi and her family. Hawi’s father-in-law refused to have Sasson accept the sugarloaf, because he had plans for Gollar to marry his own grandson!
Gollar: It was such a new experience for me, coming from European culture where I was constantly depressed and upset, thinking I was fat and ugly and having to watch my weight all the time. And suddenly in Iran, plumpness is appreciated and I’m the most desirable woman! All of a sudden men were practically ﬁghting over me, and I have this handsome young man telling me how beautiful I am! It was such a good feeling!
But soon enough Golli ﬁnds out that being beautiful and desired is sometimes not so good…
The other disappointed suitors, most of whom were family members as well, protested the match: “How can you give your daughter to someone who grew up in a hotel?!” They told Margrit. “He’s surely a barbaric womanizer, a criminal, penniless gambler,” and so on.
Gollar: Many people said Sasson only married me because of money issues, but as I know my husband, for him money was never important, even today. For him it was important that his parents wanted him to marry me, and that I was shy, like him.
The rumors of the people around me were not good for my ego, and I got depressed again, hearing all these rumors about Sasson’s love for my father’s money and not for me.
But Margrit disregarded all evil tongues and didn’t let them impede the blessed match: she decided that we should all leave Tehran, go to Rezaiyeh to give the sugarloaf, and have the engagement ceremony there.
In Rezaiyeh (Urmia), the sugarloaf was ﬁnally given to Sasson, and they held all sorts of traditional ceremonies. One of these ceremonies includes going to the synagogue, where the groom-to-be, with tallit (prayer shawl) on his shoulder, performs several rituals. Sasson, who grew up in a completely secular environment, knew nothing of these rituals. He didn’t even have a tallit, and wore two white napkins on his shoulders! The women were watching the ceremony from a distance. Tavus Khanom, Gollar’s paternal grandmother, was the one who realized the groom’s mistake, and thanks to her interference Sasson was given a proper tallit, and his ignorance was a bit less apparent.
One day the newly engaged couple, Sasson and Gollar, take a romantic horse-and-carriage ride through Rezaiyeh. For the ﬁrst time, Sasson takes Gollar’s hands in his. As he gazes into her beautiful green eyes, a policeman appears out of nowhere, and scolds them for this outrageously improper conduct in public. The carriage driver reports the incident to Gollar’s uncle Shalom in Rezaiyeh, Uncle Shalom tells Uncle Nathan in Tehran about this misconduct, and Uncle Nathan informs Agha Youssef in Hamburg about his daughter’s liberal misbehavior. Imagine that! Holding hands in public while only engaged and not yet married!
Gollar: After our engagement and before I went back to Hamburg, we said our goodbyes and Sasson gave me two-or-three pieces of jewelry as a present. He didn’t have the money to buy real gold or diamonds, but as a 14-year-old I didn’t have any expectations. They were very nice, and he gave them to me with a lot of love. He apologized, and said that right now he didn’t have money, but when he does, he will buy me the most beautiful jewels in the world. He said it with so much love and affection that it made the present more valuable for me than any 24 karat gold jewelry would have been.